Relighting the Tree of Life

It's October.  That means, at least here in Pittsburgh, everyone is beginning to talk about how to commemorate the terrible thing that happened here last October 27, when some guy from the suburbs drove into our Squirrel Hill neighborhood, went into the Tree of Life synagogue, murdered 11 people, injured others, and traumatized many more. … Continue reading Relighting the Tree of Life

Peppermint Tea: Healthy Helper or Just Hot Water?

At some point during my many years of working in an office, I developed the habit of making a cup of peppermint tea as soon as I got to work every morning.  I'm less consistent when I'm between jobs (as I am now) so I'm not necessarily sitting down at the computer every morning--but peppermint … Continue reading Peppermint Tea: Healthy Helper or Just Hot Water?

Two First Novels by Authors Starting with K [book reviews]

I stepped into an aisle in my local library's fiction section and checked out the first two books that looked good.  Each of them turned out to be the first novel by an author experienced in another type of writing--Erin Kelly is a journalist, and Richard Kramer is a television scriptwriter.  Both of them are … Continue reading Two First Novels by Authors Starting with K [book reviews]

Trixie Belden and the Little Fires Within You [book reviews]

My daughter Lydia is about to start kindergarten and is not really reading yet, only recognizing about 10 words.  That's fine.  When I was her age, I was reading on about a fourth-grade level, and that was fine, too--except that I got bored with the books in my classroom.  My father mentioned to a co-worker … Continue reading Trixie Belden and the Little Fires Within You [book reviews]

Party Without Plastic! How to serve less trashy refreshments

This year I've been helping with a local challenge to reduce single-use plastics.  My church hosted a screening of Plastic Paradise, a documentary I highly recommend for learning more about where plastic stuff goes when we throw it "away."  Of course we wanted to serve some snacks to welcome people to our parish hall and … Continue reading Party Without Plastic! How to serve less trashy refreshments

Wild Sheep, Wingmen, and Dueling Detectives [book reviews]

I recently read two novels translated into English, a book written in English that attempts to translate "boy world" into ideas parents can understand, and an English mystery with some parallels to the Swedish mystery I'd just read. A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami, translated from Japanese by Alfred Birnbaum A young man finds … Continue reading Wild Sheep, Wingmen, and Dueling Detectives [book reviews]

Princess X and The Husband’s Secret Love Languages [book reviews]

Here's a sprightly introduction to my reviews of the books I read in the past month. The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty There are multiple husbands with multiple secrets in this twisty story, which is sort of a mystery but also an excellent "modern realistic fiction" novel with lots of complex characters. Cecilia finds a … Continue reading Princess X and The Husband’s Secret Love Languages [book reviews]

Go Green in 2018: Can You Afford to Buy Greener Products?

Twenty years ago, I saw a catalog filled with practical household products that were better for the environment than the stuff we'd been using: laundry and dish and cleaning products made from plants and natural minerals, paper products made from recycled paper, tampons and cloth towels made from organic cotton.  I was excited!  But I'd … Continue reading Go Green in 2018: Can You Afford to Buy Greener Products?